We all want to live long and happy lives, and much of the effort to achieve this goal is made in the maintenance of good overall health. While we easily recognize the vast importance of proper nutrition and exercise, there’s another aspect that is often overlooked.
It’s recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that adults get eight hours of sleep each night. However, even if you’re going to bed early enough to achieve this, it’s still important that the quality of the sleep is good. There are three habits you likely don’t even realize you have that impacts your ability to sleep well.
Evening Body Temperature
As your body drifts off to sleep, you probably didn’t know that its temperature drops. When the rate of temperature change and body heat loss is maximal, sleep begins. During the cold winter months, however, many of us get into the habit of cranking up the heater. While this is warm and cozy during the day, it’s important to turn the dial down around bedtime. The optimal temperature for sleeping is 68 degrees, so plan to cool your sleeping area to this temperature about an hour before bed.
Another great way to help the body cool off during the evening is to consider the investment in a cooling pad. These pads help you regulate your body temperature. The quicker the body temperature cools, the quicker you’ll fall asleep. By taking advantage of mattress pad reviews, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding something that will work best for you. I actually really enjoyed the Iso Cool mattress pad. It has Outlast technology and kept me nice and cool throughout the night.
If you’re one of the many people who have some type of media device on while you sleep, it would do you good to turn it off. This is because light-sensitive cells are present in our retinas, and they are responsible for letting the brain know if it’s day or night and are integral components of our internal clocks.
You should consider dimming the lights about an hour before you plan to sleep. Furthermore, when you do retire for the night, turn off anything that illuminates. This even includes your alarm clock, so turn it’s front face around as you sleep. Getting into this habit will help your internal clock more easily adapt to bedtime.
The world has become more connected than ever before. Today, we can easily fly to the other side of the country in just hours. While this ability has opened up endless opportunities, it can put a damper on the achievement of good sleep, and, once again, your internal clock is to blame. In You and Your Biological Clock, you can find out more about the science, but we’d like to offer a few solutions to overcome jet lag and shift work:
- Consider taking melatonin a few hours before bedtime starting three or four days before travel.
- To keep your internal clock in check, ensure you’re exposed to bright light during the day and encourage a darker environment before bed.
- Plan to adjust to the time zone change ahead of time. For example, if you’re headed east, get to sleep an hour or two earlier than usual a few days in advance of travel.
The Rest You Never Knew You Needed
According to the National Sleep Foundation, around one in three adults don’t get the proper amount of sleep. Whether you know you’re one of them or you just suspect there may be problems in your sleep patterns, there are likely a variety of habits you haven’t considered in the correction of the problem. Unless you understand some of the science behind sleep, many things can be changed to help you get the rest you need. By making yourself aware of these three habits, you can be on your way to achieving better sleep than you have in years.